I’ve never really considered by grip strength too much until recently. I started adding some Tough Mudder specific exercises to my workouts and soon realized my grip strength totally sucks. After thinking about it a bit more, it’s always been a limiting factor in my deadlifts, rows and other exercises that require strong hands and forearms. Grip strength of course is important in everyday life and we can all benefit from having stronger hands.
5 Ways to Build Grip Strength
1. Farmer Walks
There’s not too much you need to know for farmer walks. Grab some heavy weights or kettlebells and start walkin’. It’s important to maintain good posture while performing this exercise. Keep your eyes on the horizon, chest up and shoulders back. Try starting with as heavy of weight as you can maintain proper posture with and walk until you grip starts to give out. Rest and repeat. Try adding these to your routine a few times per week.
2. Towel Hangs and Pull-Ups
Throw two towels over a pull-up bar, grab onto one towel with each hand and and see how long you can hold on for. Hold as long as you can, rest and repeat for 4 or 5 sets. If you can, add a pull-up in. You can also make this a towel grip inverted bodyweight row by setting a smith machine bar about waist height, coming under it and grabbing the bar with your legs extended out in front of you. Pull your chest up to the bar and slowly slower back down. (See photo below.)
3. Deadlift Heavy
Deadlift often and heavy gripping the bar as hard as you can. Try switching up your grips from underhand to overhand, and a mixed grip.
4. Pull More, Pull Heavy
Add lots of pulling exercises to your workout program. Try bent-over dumbbell rows, barbell rows, t-bar rows, lat pull downs, pull-ups, seated rows and any other exercise that requires a pulling motion. Lift as heavy as you can maintain proper form with and practice gripping the dumbbell or barbell as hard as you can.
5. Fat Bars
Wrap a towel around any barbell or dumbell you’re training with so it makes a ‘fatter’ bar to hold onto. Try this with walking dumbbell lunges, 1-arm dumbbell rows or barbell rows to work the muscles in the hands and forearms and really challenge your grip.
Regularly add these grip-builders to your program and you should see improvement in as little as two weeks. Since adding more farmer walks and bar hangs to my workouts over the last 3 weeks, I’ve already seen an improvement in strength and endurance.
That’s it for Five Things Friday! On to my workout log for the last two days. I had a surprisingly awesome two days of workouts despite being super sore all week. I guess I’m just feeling extra motivated lately! I actually can’t wait to run 14k tomorrow and train again on Sunday.
I added plank drags to my workouts recently, I don’t know what else to call them but they’re really freakin’ hard. You’ll need a somewhat slippery floor for these, a hardword floor works great. Get into a high plank position but turn your feet so the tops of your feet are on the floor. Keeping your body straight, start walking forward on your hands, dragging your legs behind you. Talk about a serious ab workout!!
For the walking lunges I just held a 30 lb dumbbell in front of me and when I lowered down into my lunge, I twisted to the side of the leg in front. Keep these slow and controlled. I used 40 lb dumbbells for the farmer walks, which felt really easy at first but my hands, arms and shoulders were definitely burning by the end of the 100 steps. Walk slowly while to maintain good posture and hold on tight.
Burpees, what can I say. Hate them, love them but just do them! They are the best and worst exercise of all time.
- Max Band-Assisted Pull-Ups
- Jump Squats x 15
- Plank Drags x 20
- Burpees x 20
- Walking Weighted Lunge with Twist x 30
- Farmer Walk x 100 steps
- High-Plank 60 seconds
Repeat 3 Rounds for Time
I was actually supposed run an easy 6 km today but I ended up running 3 miles worth of hills. I was feeling good so I just went for it. I ran them slow so I’d still consider it a recovery run, but it was a good endurance builder nonetheless. The hills actually felt not to bad at all, it was the speed that was killing me. When a good song came on I tried picking up my pace but my legs and glutes just weren’t having it.
Run 3 miles at 6.0 mph:
- 0-1 Min @ 0% incline
- 1-2 Min @ 1% incline
- 2-3 Min @ 2% incline
- 3-4 Min @ 3% incline
- 4-5 Min @ 4% incline
- 5-6 Min @ 5% incline
- 6-7 Min @ 6% incline
- 7-8 Min @ 7% incline
- 8-9 Min @ 8% incline
- 9-10 Min @ 9% incline
Repeat that 3 times
As you may have read, the hubs and I are on the hunt for a new apartment and it’s been next to impossible to find a place that takes not 1, but 2 dogs! No one wants these two little puppies 🙁 Tomorrow, we’re going to look at an apartment in Kitsilano that actually takes pets but they don’t know we have 2 yet. We’re going to spring it on em’ after we charm them with our sparkling personalities! The place looks awesome, I’m pretty set on it even though I haven’t seen it yet. We went and creeped around the outside of the building a few days ago and it looks great. If all goes well tomorrow, we could be moving in May 1st. I’m already feeling sad about leaving my beloved West End neighbourhood but Kits is beautiful too and it’s time for a new adventure!
I’m hoping I have a few new recipes to share with you this weekend. I just attempted some raw chocolate with sea salt, cayenne, cocoa, coconut oil and a date paste. It’s setting in the freezer right now but from what I’ve tasted so far I think I’ve got a gem! Ummm, okay I’m starting to pass out at the computer so I better get to bed. 14k bright and early!
What are your fitness plans this weekend?
What’s your favourite raw dessert, share the link please and thanks!